Juken's Gisborne mill to close

Friday 24 Nov 2023

A Gisborne mill that has operated since 1994 is closing down permanently, with 60 staff losing their jobs 3 days before Christmas. Staff at the Juken New Zealand mill, which employs 80 people, were informed late last month that demand for the mill’s products had declined, and 3 options had to be considered.

The options included: Ceasing production until new markets and products can be found; putting the mill up for sale and likely ceasing production while we look for a buyer; or closing the mill permanently.

The mill processed radiata pine from the company’s East Coast forests to produce a small range of specialised wood products, mainly for the Japanese housing market. Demand for the mill’s products has continued to decline over the past 5 years and is not expected to improve. The mill’s age also meant it needs significant investment if it is to continue its effective production and safe operation.

On Friday, Juken New Zealand managing director Hiroyuki Kawado informed staff that, following consultation, a decision had been made to close the mill by the end of March 2024. “It is our intention to complete all work in progress by 22 December 2023 and then stop production. This will directly affect around 60 employees. A transition crew of 20 will ensure the mill can remain operational until 31 March 2024, at the latest,” he said.

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Source: Stuff

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